You are here: Home | Why we're listed

Why we're listed

Why we’re a World Heritage Site

World Heritage Sites are a formal international heritage designation which is carried out through a process known as inscribing on the World Heritage List. The government carries out the inscribing/listing process on behalf of the UK. Inscribed in 1986, Ironbridge Gorge is known throughout the world as the symbol of the Industrial Revolution.

  • The Ironbridge Gorge contains all the elements of progress that contributed to the rapid development of this industrial region in the 18th century, from the mines themselves to the railway lines.
  • The blast furnace of Coalbrookdale was built in the 17th century and was bought by Abraham Darby I in 1708, were he discovered the use of coke.
  • The bridge at Ironbridge, the world's first bridge constructed of iron, had a considerable influence on developments in the fields of technology and architecture.


Years since it was inscribed


World Heritage Site Criteria


Museums across the site


Key settlements of interest

What makes the ironbridge gorge a world heritage site

  • It represents a masterpiece of human creative genius.
  • It's an outstanding example of a type of architecture or landscape.
  • It's an important representation of human values over a span of time.
  • It's associated with key events, traditions, beliefs or artistic achievements.

Learn more 

Cultural & natural heritage

World Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations.

Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration.

UNESCO convention

Image of the World heritage logoWorld heritage tangible themes

The Industrial and Natural Landscape which includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Mines
  • Pit mounds
  • Spoil heaps
  • Foundries
  • Factories
  • Workshop
  • Warehouses
  • Workers housing
  • Transport systems (trains, pathways, canals, etc.)
  • River
  • Woodland
  • Gorge

Image of the Intangible cultural heritage themes logoIntangible cultural heritage themes

The area is known for its advancement and innovative movements that include the following, however this is not an exhaustive list.

  • Making and working iron
  • Brick laying
  • Tile making
  • China making
  • Wood working
  • Coracle making